THE CHALLENGE OF THE GOSPEL.
2 Cor. 6:14 - 7:1.
1. The word "challenge" is used only one time in the KJV of the Bible.
A. That one time is found in Exo. 22:9 and has to do with one challenging the ownership of stolen property.
B. Webster says the word means, "An invitation to engage in a contest."
1) In other words, "To throw down the gauntlet."
2. The word "Gospel" is used 76 times in the New Testament.
A. It is not used at all in the Old Testament.
B. The Greek definition of the noun form of the word means, "Good news or good message".
C. It also has reference to "the facts of the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ."
D. This word will also encompass the "commands to be obeyed, and the promises to be enjoyed."
4. So, actually, when we get right down to the meaning of the word "gospel" we find ourselves dealing with the plan or scheme of redemption, made possible through Christ Jesus.
5. This then tells us that our subject for study is:
A. Actually an invitation to engage in a contest to either obey the gospel which is right, or:
1) To follow our own fleshly desires which is wrong.
6. So, the gospel challenges us with:
I. A CHALLENGE TO BELIEVE:
A. IN CHRIST JESUS as the Only Begotten Son of God, in the midst of an unbelieving world. Jno. 8:24; 20:30,31.
B. That "GOD SO LOVED THE WORLD, that He gave His only Begotten Son..." Jno. 3:16, in the midst of a receiving rather than a giving world. Acts 20:25.
C. IN THE GOSPEL, as God's power to save, Rom. 1:16,17, in a world that looks to men and to man-made methods for salvation.
II. A CHALLENGE TO DO THE RIGHT THING: Matt. 7:19-27; Jas. 1:21-25.
A. And this, in the midst of a religious world that believes Jesus has literally paid it all, and mental acceptance of that fact, faith only, is all-sufficient for salvation.
1. They claim that the perfect works done by Jesus are imputed to our imperfection therefore, His perfect works always covers over our imperfect life regardless of how we might live upon this earth.
III. A CHALLENGE TO BE AN UNDENOMINATIONAL CHRISTIAN: Acts 4:12; 11:26; Matt. 15:13. The only way to be a Christian.
A. And this, in the midst of a denominationally oriented world.
1. "Attend the church of your choice" they say.
IV. A CHALLENGE TO ACCEPT ONLY THE CHURCH THAT JESUS BUILT: Matt. 16:;13-18.
A. And this, in the midst of a world that thinks that any and all religious bodies and religious institutions are acceptable and sufficient unto salvation.
V. A CHALLENGE TO ACCEPT CHRIST JESUS AS THE ONLY HEAD, FOUNDATION, AND SAVIOR OF HIS BODY THE CHURCH: Eph. 1:22,23; 5:23; 1 Cor. 3:11.
A. And this, in the midst of a world that recognizes church heads and leaders in many places throughout the world.
VI. A CHALLENGE TO WALK "THE NARROW WAY". Matt. 7:13,14.
A. While the majority of the world are walking in the "broad way."
VII. A CHALLENGE TO LIVE SECURELY: 1 Jno. 1:5-10; 2:24-29; Matt. 6:19-34.
A. And this, in the midst of an insecure world.
1. The rich man of Lk. 12:13-21, had a problem.
a. He planned a SOLUTION for his problem.
b. He made a PROPOSAL within himself as to what he would do with his abundant crop.
1) In doing this, he spoke of "many years."
c. But, in the final outcome, we find Christ making the DISPOSAL in the matter.
1) In Nigeria, West Africa, where I have spent a lot of time preaching the gospel, you can read on the trucks that travel the roads in commerce "In God's Time", "Man proposes, God disposes."
2) He stated, "This night thy soul shall be required of thee."
VIII. A CHALLENGE TO BE ABLE TO ABOUND AND ALSO TO BE ABASED: Phil. 4:12,13.
A. And this, in the midst of a world that commits suicide when the markets fail, etc. and when their great abundance is taken from them.
IX. A CHALLENGE TO BE FAITHFUL AND TRUSTWORTHY IN MARRIAGE, IN BUSINESS, AND IN THE CHURCH.
A. And this, in the midst of a world full of deceit, disrespect, and dishonor.
X. A CHALLENGE TO LIVE A GODLY LIFE: 2 Tim. 3:12; 2 Pet. 3:11; Titus 1:11-14.
A. And this, in the midst of an ungodly world.
XI. A CHALLENGE TO ACT NOW ON BEHALF OF THE SALVATION OF YOUR SOUL, BY OBEYING THE FIRST PRINCIPLES OF THE ORACLES OF GOD.
A. Even though, we are living in a world of religious indifference and procrastination.
XII. A CHALLENGE TO RETURN TO THE FOLD OF SAFETY FROM WHENCE YOU HAVE STRAYED: 1 Pet. 2:25.
A. Do this in spite of all the temptations and allurements to stay away.
1. I trust that this lesson itself has challenged you.
2. Are you willing to meet the challenge? Pick up the gauntlet?
3. Someone has said, "We must be ALL OUT for Jesus, or Jesus is OUT OF IT ALL."
By Jim Sasser
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